January 29, 2015

Empire: False Imposition

So I am firm in my belief that Empire is officially my  new General Hospital. This means that Lucious and Cookie are my Sonny and Carly Corinthos. Now if you never watched General Hospital, shame on you! Where was your childhood? (Technically as a child you shouldn’t be watching soap operas but that’s beside the point.) For my fellow Port Charles residents, I think you know why I believe this is similar to our beloved Corinthos clan.

Let’s jump into the episode, shall we?

Hakeem and Tiana are scheduled to perform at the Teen Choice Award nomination special that is being hosted at Empire club, Laviticus. Anika has arranged for them to be marketed as a couple on this show and feels like singing a duet would do wonders for them. Tiana consults with Cookie and she suggests the song. Why does she bother to text Cookie you may ask? Well Cookie is now managing her. As you would assume correctly, Ms. Anika is not happy about that. (Side note: I don’t think Cookie really sees Anika as a threat and I may need to revise one of my earlier statements and say that Anika might be someone Cookie keeps a closer eye on.)

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Hakeem (and his chopped up eyebrows) is still struggling with his music, in a sense. His father is trying to get him in the studio more but Hakeem is still content with partying, drinking and sleeping with Camilla (more on that later).The deal with this duet performance was for Hakeem to record a PG rated song with Tiana, given the environment, and take the recording over to Cookie so she can okay the song. Lucious is in the studio with him and is trying to get him to bring it down a notch and stop making the song sound so forceful. Hakeem, of course, is not receptive to this because he claims that he doesn’t want to sacrifice his art and doesn’t feel as if he should have to take the song to his mother for approval in the first place. The scene in the recording booths is one of the rare moments so far where we see Lucious actually slip on his father hat. He reprimands Hakeem and tells him that while he can’t make him love his mother, he will respect Cookie.

Honestly, the Cookie-Hakeem relationship is very sad on a number of levels. I don’t know if Hakeem will ever be tolerable of Cookie. Given that she has sacrificed so much for them that he is seemingly willing to ignore, I am interested to see the future dynamic of this relationship.

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In the end, Hakeem skips the dinner session with Tiana and his mother and is seen in his hot tub with Camilla. During their little rendezvous, Tiana walks into his apartment slightly berating him for missing the dinner. She very quickly sees these two in his tub and  simply walks away.

Girl, what?!

First, lets talk about Hakeem’s decor and his apartment layout. Why is the damn hot tub in the middle of the living room?

Secondly: Tiana, you see your man with Naomi Campbell and you just walk away?

Cut to Hakeem visiting Jamal dreading having to go to this rehearsal because he doesn’t know Tiana will act. Come to find out, he really doesn’t have anything to worry about. While Tiana is upset that he missed the dinner and pissed that he is late to the rehearsal, she simply brushes off the Camilla ordeal and tells him to not blow her big break.

This earns her the second “Girl, what?”

I mean, she really doesn’t care that her boyfriend is cheating on her? Especially with someone who is clearly much older than both of them? To each his own, I guess. Wouldn’t have been me – I can tell you that much.

Tiana and Hakeem perform at the nomination special and except for her terrible wardrobe choice, it went off without a hitch. I guess all’s well that ends well?

On to the other musically inclined Lyons son. We see that Jamal has moved into a roach infested  apartment where he refuses to take any money from his mother and returns the check Empire Entertainment sent him after his performance with Hakeem. He seems to be full steam ahead with the “on his own” thing. One major problem though is that he is not writing any new music.. Cookie comes over looking for a new song only to find out that he has done absolutely nothing since moving into that place. After a swift kick from his mother and another slightly tense meeting with his father, we get a peek into Jamal’s creative process. We see him basically recreate a scene from Rent where he comes up with a song on the fly after going outside his building in the cold, kicking over a few trashcans and taking in his new surroundings. This song may end up being the hit Cookie was looking for. (Mind you, we haven’t heard enough of the song to determine that. That’s just an assumption.)

The big story line of the night, however, belongs to the rapper Titan. Apparently he is one of those sincere rapper since Tupac, according to Lucious. He is also at the top of the charts and is in high demand. Lucious, at one point, even tells Hakeem that he should be keeping an eye out for Titan and observe and mimic how hard he works. Anyway, long story short: Titan shoots a fellow rival and is put into jail without bail. While this lands him on the cover of every magazine and increases his album sales, this doesn’t help him personally at all. Billy Beretti, the main Empire rival, has the power to get Titan released (and he is signed to his label) but refuses. And after Beretti signed Kid FoFo to his label, Lucious wants to hit him back where it hurts. Lucious was also signed to Beretti and we learn that Beretti was putting his name on song credits where it didn’t belong and essentially stealing money from Lucious. To say there is bad blood there is an understatement. We see Beretti visit the club and warn Lucious against making the record company public. He threatens him and mentions that he would change the club’s name to Cookie; a subtle acknowledgment that he does indeed know how Lucious was able to start this company and isn’t afraid to make that knowledge public.

Communicating with Titan and being able to see him in jail is tricky and ultimately it is Cookie that helps to seal the deal. She visits Titan’s mother and finds out that they are a part of the Nation of Islam and reports this information back to Lucious. This is makes the situation even stickier though because we find out that the Nation killed Lucious’s father. Even Cookie is hesitant because she knows how quickly this potential deal can turn out to be a lot more personal that initially intended. In the end though, he visits Titan in jail and walks away with the successful rapper now apart of Empire Entertainment.

 

The episode ends with Cookie and Lucious in his office. They are watching the successful performance of Hakeem and Tiana on television. Before she walks out of his office, Cookie gloats and reminds Lucious that she was the one that orchestrated the performance and also gave him the necessary information to sign Titan. He acknowledges this and comments on how they always did make a good team. Cookie replies, “You damn right we did. I make you better, don’t forget that.” As Cookie switches away, Lucious lets his eyes roam and finally calls out to her by saying, “Thank you, baby.”

I guarantee you that the term of endearment was not a slip of the tongue. Lucious has definitely showed his hand more than Cookie and the tug of war is still well underway.

 

-cues music- He want that old thang back!

Also important to note, Lucious revealed to Anika that he has ALS. We also got a deeper look into Andre and Lucious’s relationship. When the detective came by to question his whereabouts on the night of Bunkie’s murder, Andre sensing something might have been off  and gave his father an alibi. We also got a flashback to when he was a child showing that he has been technically covering for his father for a very long time. I wonder what effect this will have on Lucious’s decision in regards to who will run Empire. And another very important question to ask: what is Anika really going to do now that she knows the truth about his condition? Something tells me that the vindictive side of Anika will rear its ugly head soon.

P.S. Based on the previews, Lucious get downs on one knee and proposes to Anika. I am a bit confused.I could have sworn that they were already married. Are they just renewing their vows? If not, then I don’t see an actual wedding happening. Not if Cookie has anything to say about and not if Lucious can’t stop looking at Cookie the way he has been doing recently. I told yall, I give them until the end of the season until the Lyons end up back in bed together, if only once.

P.P.S Cookie’s nickname is officially “Cheetah Girl” – that woman loves a good leopard print!!

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Natalya